Yakima is full of rich history if only you take the time to look for it. If you have any doubts, a weekend trip to the McAllister Museum of Aviation followed by lunch next door at Reno’s on the Runway just might prove it to you.

McAllister Museum of Aviation and Reno’s on the Runway
This image includes the McAllister brothers, Alister and Charlie, as well as Helen Peters. Photo courtesy: McAllister Museum of Aviation

McAllister Museum of Aviation

2008 S 16th Avenue, Yakima

Carl Farnsworth, a volunteer at the McAllister Museum of Aviation, is more than happy to give a tour to anyone who stops by. He has been volunteering at the museum for three years and takes any moment to learn more about the aviation history that took place here in his home of Yakima. His love for aviation first took flight 78 years ago at the age of six and continues to soar to this day.

During the tour, Farnsworth will tell you of Bonnie J. Dunbar, a NASA astronaut from Yakima County. She began her career as a fighter pilot in the Air Force before continuing to become an astronaut and then the CEO of The Museum of Flight in Seattle. You will also hear about a Yakima local, Charlie McAllister, whom the museum is named after. He co-owned and operated, along with his brother Alister McAllister, a flight school (1926-1998) in the very building the museum is in and set a northwest record for his glider flight in 1933 with the Yakima Clipper.

McAllister Museum of Aviation and Reno’s on the Runway
All the model planes in this display were created by Bob Hill. Photo credit: Steven Fonseca

The McAllister Museum of Aviation is currently open Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with no entrance fee, but donations are always accepted. If you would like a docent-guided tour, their contact information can be found on their website.

Reno’s on the Runway

2010 S 16th Avenue, Yakima

Once you’ve wandered through the museum and explored the informative displays, take a short drive or walk next door to the Reno’s on the Runway restaurant. This small building not only has delicious food but is also the home of Yakima’s very first airport terminal. It was built in the early 1930s, and once you step inside, you can see photos of the original terminal during baggage claim.

McAllister Museum of Aviation and Reno’s on the Runway
If you fly in and park your plane for a bite to eat at Reno’s on the Runway restaurant, you will get a photo taken to display on their wall. Photo credit: Selene Fonseca

The restaurant owners, Donnie “Reno” Foster and Staci Sainsbury are very proud to show the history that brought this restaurant to be here in Yakima. The idea began after a group of pilots and people attached to the E.A.A (Experimental Aircraft Association) approached them and suggested they start a restaurant at that location. Because they also own Staci’s Catering, they knew the amount of work that went into owning a business, but as Reno puts it, “The main reason we did it is because these older people have seen so much potential and history in this building. They were so serious about it that it just kind of touched us, and we wanted to do this for them.”

After a year of repairs and renovations, they were able to open their doors to the public and have happily served the community as often as they could while still attending to their catering business. Reno’s on the Runway was opened in September 2019 after three successful soft openings. “It’s been fun,” said Reno. “The funnest thing is people are loving it, and that’s what makes us happy.”

Aside from the yummy breakfast options, they also offer signature sandwiches and wraps, unlimited soup, and a fresh salad bar. Reno’s menu is all made to order, and they are able to accommodate dietary restrictions. “Just like cooking for your family,” said Reno. “We want to treat people like that when they come here.” Currently, the restaurant is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and offers happy hours from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. until they switch to their winter hours which are from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. The delicious daily specials and any changes to operating hours can be found on their Facebook page.

McAllister Museum of Aviation and Reno’s on the Runway
Bill Betterton and friends enjoy frequenting the Reno’s on the Runway restaurant. Photo credit:
Selene Fonseca

What Reno’s on the Runway offers that others don’t is they have a back patio where you can order some mouthwatering food and watch the planes land or depart, but you may also fly your aircraft in on the nearest runway to grab a bite to eat. “This is a really rare location because you can fly from anywhere in the United States, land, park your plane and eat,” said Reno. “How many places can you fly your plane in to eat and go through the back gate? It’s really cool. We take your picture and put it on our picture board before you leave.”

Next time you are looking for a place to explore, why not try Reno’s on the Runway? Their information can be found on their website or simply by stopping by.

“This place is wonderful,” said loyal customer Bill Betterton. “The people are wonderful. The food is wonderful. We enjoy it all the time.”

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